[Milton-L] Abdiel

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Jun 28 09:29:05 EDT 2008

Alice -- don't you think there's some distance between Milton and his
characters?  Yes, they are Milton's creations, but they're deliberate
creations, aren't they?  So perhaps we shouldn't say Milton's
psychology is represented in his characters' speeches, but Milton's
understanding of different psychologies and how they express
themselves verbally is represented by his characters' speeches?
Satan's speeches, therefore, aren't representative of Milton's
psychology but of Milton's ideas about how an unredeemable fallen
psychology would represent itself.  Rhetoric / rhetorical choices are
therefore very important.

So Adam and Eve's speeches (and conversations), I would expect,
represent Milton's ideas about how an unfallen human psychology would
express itself in speech.  My question is -- does Milton identify
prelapsarian Adam and Eve with the Christian?   This would be a
significant difference between himself and later writers such as Blake
(and Kierkegaard, for that matter) -- think of Blake's progression
from childlike innocence, to experience, to higher innocence, or
Kierkegaard's progression from the aesthetic (immediate pole =
unfallen innocence), to the ethical, to the religious.  In Blake and
Kierkegaard when we move beyond sin we do it with an awareness that we
have sinned that changes us forever, and of course it's doubtful that
this movement beyond sin is ever completed in this lifetime.  The
Christian is never completely innocent again, just continually
becoming innocent again.  The prelapsarian innocent has no awareness
of sin.   Not sure how to place Milton here.

Yes, there is a great deal of confluence between Heidegger and
Kierkegaard because Heidegger borrowed extensively from Concept of
Anxiety when writing Being and Time.  This borrowing was only
acknowledged in a footnote in the second edition, but has been
documented in Kierkegaard scholarship.  I suspect Heidegger borrowed
from Concept of Anxiety when writing about boredom in Fundamental
Concepts of Metaphysics, but at least this time he wrote far more
extensively and in more detail than Kierkegaard on the subject.  What
Heidegger says about anxiety in Being and Time is rather two
dimensional compared to what Kierkegaard says about anxiety in Concept
of Anxiety.

Jim R

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